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Independence Day takes on new meaning after post-COVID restrictions

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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CAPE VINCENT, New York (WWNY) - Masks are no longer required and social distancing is in the rearview mirror. People we met say this year’s Independence Day had a new meaning.

“To be able to be out and not have to wear a mask,” said Linda Fagan, who’s visiting Cape Vincent from Illinois.

It’s the little things that people missed most during the pandemic.

“To see actual smiles on their faces,” said Lisa Hodgkins, who’s visiting Clayton from Syracuse.

Monday’s nice weather brought big crowds to river communities, giving people the opportunity to make up for lost time.

“Nobody hung out together. It was, you stayed at your place, we stayed at our place and this year, we’re all reconnecting,” said Chip Hodgkins, who’s visiting Clayton from Syracuse.

The Hodgkins say eating dinner with friends is something they missed during the pandemic.

“We just had a big dinner with 12 people on somebody’s porch. It was just so much fun to be back together and hugging and kissing and saying hi to everybody,” said Chip.

Reconnecting is a common theme. One couple came to Cape Vincent all the way from Illinois.

“Extended family vacation. There’s about 35 to 40 of us here,” said Fagan.

It’s their first time in Cape Vincent in two years. The pandemic ruined a four-year streak - something Linda’s husband, Jerry, says he never thought was possible.

“Everyone’s going to have to worry for a week or two and then it’s going to be gone. And it just never happened,” he said.

But that’s all in the past. Now, they’re looking ahead.

“We’d like to go out to Las Vegas; we wanted to go last year and everything was closed,” said Jerry.

“We’re going to travel, we’re going to travel further away. Yeah, maybe get back on an airplane for the first time in two years,” said the Hodgkins.

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